Why Virginia Settling on the GED is Probably Good News for the Region

The Washington Post reported Friday that Virginia will continue to use the GED as their high school equivalency test. The Old Dominion joins Maryland and the District of Columbia in sticking with the GED (at least for now), and it seems to me this is good news for those seeking to attain a high-school equivalency credential in the DC/VA/MD region, where the population tends to move around, especially between Washington and the surrounding counties. Those preparing for the GED in the District, for example, won’t have to start over again with a different test if they move their residency to one of the surrounding counties—a fairly common occurrence. (Same goes for GED instructors.)

I still think that ultimately the GED backlash (at least threes states—Montana, New Hampshire, and New York, have already announced that they’re going with alternative exams, and more will likely follow) might have something of a silver lining if it encourages states to take a fresh look at how to better serve adults who are seeking to attain a high school credential. The GED was never actually the only way to this in most states anyway, just by far the most popular way. But as useful as it has been to have a de facto standard with the GED, there really ought to be multiple pathways to a high school credential, with options that accommodate the many different needs and circumstances of those seeking one. And those options ought to include opportunities to simultaneously attain industry credentials, trade skills, and/or enrollment in postsecondary education. (This is why I think the GED Testing Service’s efforts to continue to dominate the market  will ultimately fail—I think they’ve just pushed along a re-thinking process at the state level that was probably going to happen anyway.)

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!